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June 11, 2012

The overwhelming majority of employers say they will continue to offer health care plan coverage to employees in 2014 when key provisions of the health care reform law kick in, according to a survey of benefit professionals.

More than 85% of employers responding to an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey say they either definitely will or are very likely to continue coverage in 2014, while nearly 10% said they are somewhat likely to continue coverage.

Just 1% said they definitely will not offer coverage, while nearly 4% said are somewhat unlikely or very unlikely to offer coverage in 2014.

Retaining and attracting employees were the top reasons employers say they will continue coverage in 2014, even though—assuming they dropped their health care plans—federal premium subsidies would be available to their lower- and middle-income employees to buy coverage in state insurance exchanges.

Top reasons cited

When asked to provide their two top reasons for maintaining coverage, just over 55% of respondents said retaining current employees and attracting future talent were the top reasons they will keep their plans and just over 53% said maintaining and/or increasing employee satisfaction and loyalty was the top reason for retaining coverage.

“These employers recognize that offering health care coverage is an important benefit that helps retain current employees, attract future talent, and increase employee satisfaction,” Michael Wilson, International Foundation CEO said in a statement.

Results are based on the responses of 968 individuals, including benefit and human resource managers, general and financial managers and other professionals.

Just over 9% cited retention of tax advantages as a reason for keeping coverage and just over 7% said a top reason for keeping coverage was to avoid tax penalties. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers will, starting in 2014, be liable for a non-tax deductible $2,000 per full-time employee penalty if they do not offer coverage.

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